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When will Sinn Fein learn to take 'no' for an answer on a united Ireland?

Eilis O'Hanlon


If the two halves of the island were like a separated couple, Unionists would have SF charged with harassment by now

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‘My cheeks hurt’: Mary Lou McDonald – pictured as the Dáil reconvened – joked she was in pain because she couldn’t stop smiling. Photo: PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images

‘My cheeks hurt’: Mary Lou McDonald – pictured as the Dáil reconvened – joked she was in pain because she couldn’t stop smiling. Photo: PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images

AFP via Getty Images

'The highly public inclusion of Gerry Adams in the negotiating team for a new coalition government will hardly help push support higher.' Photo: PA

'The highly public inclusion of Gerry Adams in the negotiating team for a new coalition government will hardly help push support higher.' Photo: PA

PA

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‘My cheeks hurt’: Mary Lou McDonald – pictured as the Dáil reconvened – joked she was in pain because she couldn’t stop smiling. Photo: PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images

Believing a united Ireland is not a likely outcome in the short term is not the same as being against a united Ireland, but that thought appears too complex to survive in the heads of the most dogmatic nationalists.

They were made freshly indignant last week by a new study, undertaken on behalf of Queen's University Belfast and others, which found only 28pc of people in Northern Ireland would vote for Irish unity if there was a border poll tomorrow - and that research was conducted before the recent Irish election, whose strong showing for Sinn Fein alarmed the most moderate Unionists. The highly public inclusion of Gerry Adams in the negotiating team for a new coalition government will hardly help push support higher.

The figure in favour of a united Ireland does look suspiciously low, considering that nationalists gained just under 40pc of the vote at the last Stormont Assembly election. There were also a high number of 'don't knows' in the latest survey, and nobody really knows what would happen over the course of a border poll campaign.


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